Monday, August 24, 2009

And The Answer Is...

So apparently, the answer to my rhetorical tongue-in-cheek wise-ass question from Saturday's post [Is It Wrong...?] is, "It depends."

Having a blog is a very weird thing. Some blogs have a target audience. Some are just open to all comers. Some don't know what they're really shooting for. When I started mine in 2006, I was going to chronicle my battle with weight. I was derailed by Pokemon Boy's diagnosis with Tourette's. And that is when this became Tourette's Mom. I didn't know what I was going to write but it was going to be a place where people could come, read, and see one picture of what life with Tourette's can look like.

In 2007, my original purpose was derailed again. But it wasn't too strange because - thankfully - God has given Pokemon Boy control over his body. So there really wasn't all that much about dealing with Tourette's that I could say. Not on an almost-daily basis. So when The Ex shredded our little family, I used this as one of my lifelines. My regular blogger chick friends came to my rescue. Here and offline. It was pretty shocking to find how big my blogger family was. And how real. It still amazes me.

A few months ago, I linked my Facebook account to this blogger account. That's where the weird began. Well, in my head, anyway. I figured most of my acquaintances on Facebook wouldn't bother reading my blog posts. I was wrong. So once I knew they were reading, I started second guessing what I wrote here. I'm very much a stream of consciousness writer. And then once they started commenting...well, that was a whole other bag of noodles.

Many Facebookers use the online social networking site as a way to share pictures and update their friends and family with what's going on. Look, Bobby took his first step. Oh dear, Suzie has H1N1. Oh cool, I have a job interview. And that's how my account started. I had been a MySpace addict. I hadn't even known there were other social networking sites. My blogger chick pal Jane invited me to Facebook. And I was hooked. More and more of my friends, family, and acquaintances were joining Facebook. So it was fun. I now have regular interaction with both sides of my birth-family where it had been sporadic at best. My extended family (both sides) keep in regular touch which we had previously only done with a Yahoo group email. So now we got to have pictures and jokes. I'm reconnected with childhood friends, high school classmates, college classmates. It's a hoot and lots of fun.

But the majority of Facebookers are like me. They will connect with all sorts of people that were peripherally in their lives. If I can recall any interaction with a person, I usually accept a friend request. If I can't recall, I'll see if we have mutual friends and ask one of mine, "Who is John Smith and why would I know him?" Once a month, I go through my friend list. If I haven't had any contact with that person and/or can't recall any significant interaction with them in my lifetime, I usually disconnect. And most people never say, "Hey, why'd you defriend me?" If they do, I realize they were a lurker (they read but don't leave comments) and add them back in.

For those of the more private ilk, this seems like one of the inner circles of hell. Just ask my BigSis. She'd rather be skinned alive than join anything like Facebook, MySpace, Classmates, Plaxo, [insert any of the myriad of social sites here]. But I'm a social junkie. I love contact of any kind. If you're not outright abusive on my pages, I'm usually lovin' it.

For a while, I hesitated putting anything on my page about my feelings for God/Jesus, my church, etc. I didn't want to be misconstrued as one of those agenda-pushing "religious" types. Because if you know me, I am SO not that person. But after a while, I realized this just falls back into my old habit of putting God behind the curtain, in a closet, in my back pocket. Why should I have to hide any part of my life from anyone? If I'm happy how I am, why can't I just put that out there?

So I got bold. I started putting things like, "My church so totally rocks!" in my status. Or I'd say I was prepping the fruit for church. Or that worship rocked that Sunday. Or whatever. Don't get me wrong. My stupid slapstick humor was still out there. So my "God Rocks!" updates were interspersed with updates like "Men + beer + boob-themed restaurants = stoopid." The point is, I just tended to be my usual self. But my PUBLIC self.

And there is a difference. I will bare my soul here because, most regular readers here are invested somehow. They are a family member, a friend, interested in Tourette's, have a child with special needs, stumbled here and stayed, or were sent here from another blogger friend. My regulars are supportive, funny and kind. Those that come here - for whatever reason - if they stay, they have chosen to. On Facebook, it's kind of an opportunistic captive audience. Most of the people who read my blog posts over there are people that don't know my back story. The context is jumbled. Or, there IS no context.

So, that last post from Saturday - it was a mix of humor & snark. My friend that was the subject has a good sense of humor. His wife is a regular reader here. So I posted that fully knowing she'd read it and probably poke him with it. And here, that is exactly the response I got (see C.Beth's reply to that post).

But in Facebook land, people need to take a stand, make a point, be clever or whatever. So some people laughed along with me. But the other responses to the post made it clear that, no matter how benign I meant that post, in the jumbled context over there, it came across like I'm bitter or don't understand the different roles of moms and dads or was paying into the bumbling-dad stereotype. None of which are true.

So I have decided that I like the separation of Blog and Facebook. I have unlinked my online private me from my online public me. The few friends that found this and are interested can still come here. The lurkers and soap boxers can stay in the public forum.

So, is it wrong to be snarky about a socially charged issue - even when it's tongue in cheek? Well, no. But you have to take what follows.


Wanda said...

Hey Lynette ~~ I've been out of touch for quite a while, but do check on you from time to time but don't always comment.

I can't believe the difference in blogging since fb. Maybe I'm old fashioned but I still like blogging thinking about an article, or sharing pictures.

Facebook is more complicated to me...and so much of it doesn't relate to my interested. Like a lost cow, or a pet, or games...That's just not me, so I think I will be doing less fb and just continue with my first love of blogging.

Well, you got me rambling....
Think of you often, and do enjoy your blogspot.

Love and Hugs

Barrie said...

I'm thinking about linking my blog to my amazon page. Scary. You just never know how many people are reading, right? And while I know that's true of blogger as well, somehow blogger feels smaller and more manageable. And to think it wasn't that long again that there weren't these decisions to make...